SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., April 11, 2013 --Ponce Inlet, Florida was the official site for the second stop of the 2013 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge on Tuesday. Ten shops competed for the Southeast regional title, but in the end it was Jacksonville’s Sunrise Surf Shop who took down their fifth consecutive victory in clean, three-to-four-foot warm-water conditions. The team will now enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip to Bali in June during the Oakley Pro Bali, where they will compete against other regional qualifiers for a $10,000 grand prize.
Clean southeast ground swell groomed the beaches of Ponce Inlet. The morning free surf was stacked with dozens of shop employees and both regional and international pros, all hungry to represent their local shops for a chance to take the win and a free ride to paradise.
The first round seemed to be all about Island Water Sports who put up the highest heat total of the day (37.34), and Aqua East’s Keto Burns, who posted a 7.5 double whammy. Local shops Salty Dog and Maui Nix couldn’t post scores high enough to compete in order to advance to the Finals. Jacksonville’s Sunrise Surf Shop would barely squeak into the Final being the last shop to make the cut.
The second heat had top talent like Peter Mendia representing Nomad surf shop, Daniel Glenn from Quiet Flight, and Gabe Kling from Surf Station, but it was wild cards Jeremy Johnston and Noah Schweizer who jumped on the Inlet Charley’s Surf Shop team and made them the top team to beat.
Aqua East, Island Water Sports, Sunrise Surf Shop, and Inlet Charley’s made up this year’s Final. Island Water Sports posted a high score of 7.70 from team rider Cheyenne Cotrell, but this left double whammy surfer Tanner Stromanger with little time to get a score and get back to the box. Aqua East was having issues finding good enough waves to compete with Sunrise and Inlet Charley’s.
Strategically, the first guys to paddle out to the Final are typically shop employees, making their first scores critical. Sunrise seemed to have all the luck on their side, and instead of leaning on their team riders it was shop employee/manager Garret Carmichael picking off the wave of the day and posting a 9.17 to put them into the lead. Inlet Charley’s knew they had to post something big if they wanted to compete with all-star shop Sunrise. With that in mind, Jeremy Johnston put up an 8.5 double whammy pushing them back into the lead, leaving Noah Schweizer with just nine minutes to get a wave score of 4.5 or higher.
As time began to wind down it was uncertain if Noah knew if he had the score, or if he was unaware of the time, but the last horn blew and Noah wasn’t in the box. Sunrise was deemed victorious by default, making one of the most exciting Southeast Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Finals in recent history.
Sunrise will meet six other teams in Bali in June. The Mid-Atlantic regional is the next event in the OSSC, at Kitty Hawk, NC from April 12-13. For all of the latest information including photos, video footage, results and more, check out surfshopchallenge.com andsurfteamchallenge.com.
Special thanks to Oakley, SURFER Magazine and other event partners, Bubble Gum Surf Wax, Futures Fins, New Era, SOL REPUBLIC, and Waterman’s Sunscreen for their support, without which the Surf Shop Challenge series would not be possible.
1. Sunrise Surf Shop
2. Inlet Charley’s
3. Island Water Sport
4. Aqua East
2013 OSSC and OHSSTC Schedule:
• April 5-6 – Southwest – Seaside Reef, Cardiff, Calif. *
• April 9-10 – Southeast – Ponce Inlet, Fla.
• April 12-13 – Mid-Atlantic – Kitty Hawk or Nags Head, Outer Banks, NC
• April 15-16 – Northeast – Manasquan Inlet, Manasquan, NJ
• April 19 – Northwest – Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, Calif.
• May 10 – Hawaii – Ala Moana Bowl, South Shore, Haw.
• May 31-June 1 – West – 54th/56th Street – Newport Beach, Calif. *
• June 17-22 – National Championship – Keramas/Canggu, Bali, Indo.
*Denotes Oakley High School Surf Team Challenge stops